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Copyright. 1922. 

All rights reserved 

First Printing Oct., 192S 
Second Prmting - May, 192 3 
Third Printing Nov., 1923 
Fourth Printing - Nov., 1924 
Fifth Printing - Sept., 192 5 
Sixth Prmting Feb., 1926 

Printed in the United States of America 

















KAEI AND KOPEE AND I ... Frontispiece 







TO THE Music 92 







KARI, the elephant, was five months 
old when he was given to me to take 
care of. I was nine years old and I 
could reach his back if I stood on tiptoe. He 
seemed to remain that high for nearly two 
years. Perhaps we grew together; that is 
probably why I never found out just how tall 
he was. He lived in a pavilion, under a 
thatched roof which rested on thick tree stumps 
so that it could not fall in when Kari bumped 
against the poles as he moved about. 

One of the first things Kari did was to save 

the life of a boy. Kari did not eat much but 

he nevertheless needed forty pounds of twigs 

a day to chew and play with. Every day I 


4 Kari the Elephant 

used to take him to the river in the morning 
for his bath. He would lie down on the sand 
bank while I rubbed him with the clean sand 
of the river for an hour. After that he would 
lie in the water for a long time. On coming 
out his skin would be shining like ebony, and 
he would squeal with pleasure as I rubbed 
water down his back. Then I would take him 
by the ear, because that is the easiest way to 
lead an elephant, and leave him on the edge 
of the jungle while I went into the forest to 
get some luscious twigs for his dinner. One 
has to have a very sharp hatchet to cut down 
these twigs; it takes half an hour to sharpen 
the hatchet because if a twig is mutilated an 
elephant will not touch it. 

When one goes into the jungle, one must 
remember that there are laws one cannot 
break. Do you know that anyone who is afraid 
or who hates one of the animals of the jungle 
gives out an odor which attracts tigers and 
wolves? Every day that I was afraid to go 
into the jungle, I did not dare to stay on the 

Bringing Up Kari 5 

ground for fear lest the tigers would smell my 
presence and attack me. I climbed a tree in- 
stead, because when one is in a tree the odor of 
one's body does not go into the forest, and the 
animals cannot tell whether one is afraid or not. 

It was not an easy job, as you see, to get 
twigs and saplings for Kari. I had to climb all 
kinds of trees to get the most delicate and ten- 
der twigs. As he was very fond of the young 
branches of the banian tree which grows like 
a cathedral of leaves and branches, I was 
gathering some, one spring day in March, 
when I suddenly heard Kari calling to me in 
the distance. As he was still very young, the 
call was more like that of a baby than an ele- 
phant. I thought somebody was hurting him, 
so I came down from my tree and ran very 
fast to the edge of the forest where I had left 
him, but he was not there. 

I looked all over, but I could not find him. 
I went near the edge of the water, and I saw 
a black something struggling above its surface. 
Then it rose higher and it was the trunk of my 

6 Kari the Elephant 

elephant. I thought he was drowning. I was 
helpless because I could not jump into the 
water and save his four hundred pounds since 
he was much higher than I. But I saw his 
back rise above the water and the moment he 
caught my eye, he began to trumpet and 
struggle up to the shore. Then, still trumpet- 
ing, he pushed me into the water and as I fell 
into the stream I saw a boy lying flat on the 
bottom of the river. He had not altogether 
touched bottom but was somewhat afloat. I 
came to the surface of the water to take my 
breath and there Kari was standing, his feet 
planted into the sand bank and his trunk 
stretched out like a hand waiting for mine. I 
dove down again and pulled the body of the 
drowning boy to the surface, but not being a 
good swimmer, I could not swim ashore and 
the slow current was already dragging me 
down. I clutched at reeds on the short but 
they broke and the weight of the boy was tiring 
out one hand while the other was already weak 
from excessive swimming and clutching at the 

Bringing Up Kari 7 

reeds. Seeing us drift by in the current, Kari 
who was usually so slow and ponderous, sud- 
denly darted down like a hawk and came half- 
way into the water where I saw him stretch out 
his trunk again. I raised up my hand to catch 
it and it slipped. I found myself going under 
the water again, but this time I found that the 
water was not very deep so I sank to the bot- 
tom of the river and doubled my feet under 
me and then suddenly kicked the river bed 
and so shot upwards like an arrow, in spite of 
the fact tha f I was holding the drowning boy 
with my hand. As my body rose above the 
water, I felt a lasso around my neck. This 
frightened me; I thought some water animal 
was going to swallow me. I heard the squeal- 
ing of Kari, and I knew it was his trunk about 
my neck. He pulled us both ashore. 

As the boy lay stretched on the ground 
I recognized the cowherd. He had gone to 
bathe in the river, had slipped too far out, and 
not knowing how to swim had almost been 
drowned. I put him flat on his face on the 

8 Kari the Elephant 

sand and the elephant put his trunk about his 
waist and lifted it gently up and down, and 
then up again. After doing this three or four 
times, the water began to come out of the boy's 
mouth and, not knowing what else to do be- 
cause his body was cold, I slapped him very 
hard all over. After that I propped him up 
against the elephant's leg. Then the boy 
slowly came to. 

In the meantime all his cows had wandered 
away in different directions. As I thought 
some had gone into the jungle, where I was 
afraid they might be eaten up by tigers, I sent 
Kari to bring them back to the river bank. 
But Kari got lost himself; so when the cow- 
herd had recovered entirely, I went to look for 
his cows and my lost elephant. Where do you 
think I found him? He had gone right into 
the forest where I had left the saplings and 
the twigs and had buried his trunk into the 
heap and was eating the best of them, without 
any concern for the cows, the cowherd or 

Bringing Up Kari 9 

But I could not punish him that day because 
he had done his duty by saving the life of the 

Kari was like a baby. He had to be trained 
to be good and if you did not tell him when he 
was naughty, he was up to more mischief than 

For instance, one day somebody gave him 
some bananas to eat. Very soon he developed 
a great love for ripe bananas. We used to 
keep large plates of fruit on a table near a win- 
dow in the dining-room. One day all the bana- 
nas on that table disappeared and my family 
blamed the servants for eating all the fruit in 
the house. A few days later the fruit dis- 
appeared again; this time the blame was put 
on me, and I knew I had not done it. It made 
me very angry with my parents and the ser- 
vants, for I was sure they had taken all the 
fruit. The next time the fruit disappeared, I 
found a banana all smashed up in Kari's 
pavilion. This surprised me very much, for 

io Kari the Elephant 

I had never seen fruit there, and as you 
he had always lived on twigs. 

Next day while I was sitting in the dining- 
room wondering whether I should take some 
fruit from the table without my parents' per- 
mission, a long, black thing, very much like a 
snake suddenly came through the window and 
disappeared with all the bananas. I was very 
much frightened because I had never seen 
snakes eat bananas and I thought it must be 
a terrible snake that would sneak in and take 
fruit. I crept out of the room and with great 
fear in my heart ran out of the house, feeling 
sure that the snake would come back into the 
house, eat all the fruit and kill all of us. 

As I went out, I saw Kari's back disappear- 
ing in the direction of the pavilion and I was 
so frightened that I wanted his company to 
cheer me up. I ran after him into the pavilion 
and I found him there eating bananas. I 
stood still in astonishment; the bananas were 
lying strewn all around him. He stretched 
out his trunk and reached for one far away 

Bringing Up Kari II 

from where he was standing. That instant 
the truflk looked like a black snake, and I real- 
ized that Kari was the thief. I went to him, 
pulled him out by the ear and joyously showed 
my parents that it was Kari and not I that 
had eaten all the fruit these many weeks. Then 
I scolded him, for elephants understand words 
as well as children, and I said to him, "Next 
time I see you stealing fruit, you will be 
whipped." He knew that we were all angry 
with him, even the servants. His pride was so 
injured that he never stole another thing from 
the dining-room. And from then on, if any- 
body gave him any fruit, he always squealed as 
if to thank them. 

An elephant is willing to be punished for 
having done wrong, but if you punish him 
without any reason, he will remember it and 
pay you back in your own coin. 

Once I had taken him to bathe in the 
river; this was summer vacation and several 
boys came with me to help. Kari lay on the 
bank and we rubbed him all over with sand. 

12 Kari the Elephant 

Then he went into the water and most of us 
began to play. As Kari came up from the^ 
water, one of the boys, named Sudu, was 
standing on the bank. For no reason at all he 
hit the elephant three or four times with his 
whip. Kari squealed and ran away. I 
brought him home. 

The next summer Kari had grown so big 
and fat that I could not reach his back even 
when I stood on tiptoe. We used to take him 
out wherever we went, sometimes one riding 
on his back, sometimes all walking along with 
him. We gave him luscious twigs if he behaved 
well and sometimes delicious fruit. Once in a 
great while as a special treat we would massage 
his chest with straw and he would squeal with 
joy and lie on his back as best he could with 
his fat legs, staring at the sun. 

One day Sudu was standing on the river 
bank where I had just taken the elephant to 
give him his bath. That day Kari had been 
very good, so we prepared a straw massage for 
him. As it was very hot, however, we plunged 

Bringing Up Kari 13 

into the river ourselves before giving him his 
bath, leaving Sudu and the elephant on tHe 
bank. Without warning, Kari rushed at him 
like a mad bull, threw his trunk about Sudu's 
neck, flung him into the water, and held him 
there for a long, long time. When Sudu was 
finally pulled out of the water and stretched on 
the ground, he was nearly senseless. 

When Sudu asked me whether I would pun- 
ish Kari for having disgraced him in public 
like that, I answered that the elephant was not 
rude. When Sudu asked me why, I said, 
"Don't you remember about a year ago you 
whipped him for no reason at all, almost on 
the exact spot where he has just punished 
you?" Sudu felt so ashamed of himself that 
he got angry with all of us and went home 
alone. But by the next day, we had made it 
all up and the elephant had forgiven him. As 
a proof of friendship, when we went to the 
jungle on a picnic, Kari carried Sudu on his 
back. Since that day Sudu has never hurt a 
living creature. 

14 Kari the Elephant 

An elephant must be taught when to sit 
down, when to walk, when to go fast, and when 
to go slow. You teach him these things as you 
teach a child. If you say "Dhat" and pull him 
by the ear, he will gradually learn to sit down. 
Similarly, if you say "Mali" and pull his trunk 
forward, he will gradually learn that that is 
the signal to walk. 

Kari learned "Mali" after three lessons, but 
it took him three weeks to learn "Dhat." He 
was no good at sitting down. And do you 
know why an elephant should be taught to sit 
down? Because he grows taller and taller than 
you who take care of him, so that when he is 
two or three years old, you can only reach his 
back with a ladder. It is, therefore, better to 
teach him to sit down by saying "Dhat" so that 
you can climb upon his back, for who would 
want to carry a ladder around all the time? 

The most difficult thing to teach an elephant 
is the master call. He generally takes five 
years to learn it properly. The master call is 
a strange hissing, howling sound, as if a snake 

Bringing Up Kari 15 

and a tiger were fighting each other, and you 
have to make that kind of noise in his ear. And 
do you know what you expect an elephant to 
do when you give him the master call? If you 
are lost in the jungle and there is no way out, 
and everything is black except the stars above, 
you dare not stay very long anywhere. The 
only thing to do then is to give the master call 
and at once the elephant pulls down the tree in 
front of him with his trunk. This frightens 
all the animals away. As the tree comes crash- 
ing down, monkeys wake from their sleep and 
run from branch to branch you can see them 
in the moonlight and you can almost see the 
stags running in all directions below. You can 
hear the growl of the tiger in the distance. 
Even he is frightened. Then the elephant 
pulls down the next tree and the next, and the 
next. Soon you will find that he has made a 
road right through the jungle straight to your 





WHEN Kari grew to be five years 
old, he was almost as high as the 
ceiling. He was never trained for 
hunting. We never thought of killing any- 
thing except snakes and tigers, and these we 
killed when they came toward the village and 
injured men. So Kari never had the training 
of a hunting elephant. Just the same, he was 
very alert and steady in the face of danger, so 
when it was a question of going into the jungle 
on the back of an elephant, we generally took 
Kari with us. During such trips we did not 
put a cloth of gold on his back or silver bells 
on his sides. These bells are made in certain 
parts of India where silversmiths know how to 

20 Kari the Elephant 

melt and mix silver so that when the clapper 
strikes the sides of the bell there will be a sound 
like rushing water. The two bells are tied by 
a silver chain and slung over the elephant's 
back, one dangling on each side of him. We 
never put a howdah on the back of Kari. Very 
few Hindus put howdahs on elephants. 

Do you know what a howdah is ? It is a box 
with high sides inside of which there are chairs 
for travelers. The howdahs are generally for 
people who are not accustomed to elephants. 
They need the high sides so that when the ele- 
phant walks they will not fall from his back. 
They stay in their seats leaning on the edge of 
the box and see very little, especially children 
who are not tall enough to see over the sides. 
That is why Indian children prefer riding bare- 
back on an elephant to taking a howdah. 

One evening when my brother and I went 
out, we put a mattress on Kari's back and tied 
it very tightly with cords so that it would not 
slip, for it is not pleasant to slip and fall under 
an elephant's belly and be stepped on. But 

How Kari Saved Out; Lives 21 

Kari was trained so that he would not have 
stepped on us even if we had slipped under 
him. We tightened the cords to the mattress, 
however, and lay down for the night. Though 
we had bells, we lifted them up and silenced the 
clappers, so that in walking through the jungle 
road they would not ring and frighten the ani- 
mals, for the forest is the dwelling place of 
silence, and silence being the voice of God, no 
man dares to disturb it. We lay on the back of 
Kari and looked up at the stars. In India, the 
stars are so close that you can almost pluck 
them with your hands and the velvet blue of the 
sky is like a river of stillness running between 
banks of silver. 

As we lay there, unable to go to sleep right; 
away, we heard jungle sounds. The heavy; 
tread of the elephant was like clouds brushing 
the crests of the forest. Once in a while you 
could see a tiger come out of the jungle, cross 
a road and disappear in the distance, but Kari 
was so brave he never condescended to notice 
the comings and goings of tigers. Once we 

22 Kari the Elephant 

heard the bark of a fox very near us and then 
he came out of the jungle. Kari stopped and 
the fox passed across the road, then we moved 
on again. In the moonlight which made the 
road before us look like a river of silver we 
saw squirrels leaping from branch to branch. 

You know, perhaps, that elephants can sleep 
as they walk. Presently Kari's walk slackened 
into a slow pace, and we felt quite sure that 
he was dozing. Then we remembered nothing, 
for we too fell asleep. I cannot tell how much 
time passed before we were startled out of our 
sleep by a terrible roar, a ghastly trumpeting 
of the elephant and a terrible lunge of his body. 
We had to hold on to his back very tightly to 
avoid being thrown off. In a few seconds both 
of us had turned over I do not know how 
and were lying on our faces, holding on to the 
cords that held the mattress to Kari's back, 
while he broke into a run. 

Trees bent and broke, branches fell, and we 
could hear the monkeys stampeding from tree 
to tree, and flocks of birds, startled out of their 

How Kari Saved Our Lives 23 

sleep, falling upon us, their wings beating our 
faces. We shouted to Kari to be calm, but he 
went on as if he were mad. We heard boars 
snorting, and running away, and strange-look- 
ing horned creatures leaping and bounding off 
in all directions. Then a tree in front of us 
fell, and the jungle throbbed for a moment. It 
seemed as though a shiver ran through Kari's 
body, and he stopped stock still. It was very 
difficult to tell exactly what had happened un- 
til we got off Kari's back. I spoke to him and 
he shook his head, then I spoke again and 
urged him to put up his head. He obeyed and 
I climbed down by his trunk. I felt it was 
very wet, however, and he shook me off with 

My brother spoke to me from above and 
said when I told him how the trunk felt, "Now 
I know. You see, this is autumn when bears 
eat Mohula in the moonlight under the thick 
shade of the trees. As you know, Mohula in- 
toxicates bears, and makes them sleepy. Some 
bear had fallen asleep under the trees and Kari, 

24 Kari the Elephant 

who was also asleep and consequently did not 
even smell him with his trunk, must have come 
upon him without suspecting his presence. Al- 
though all bears are brought up to respect 
elephants, this one, no doubt, was so sleepy 
that he did not know who was upon him and so 
I am sure he must have sprung up in his sur- 
prise and scratched Kari's trunk." 

If Kari had been wide awake he would have 
killed the bear, but being sleepy, the shock and 
the surprise of the attack and the pain in his 
trunk frightened him so that he ran out into the 
jungle mad with terror. 

I put my hand on the trunk again. Yes, 
it was bleeding; I could see in the moonlight 
that it was not perspiration because my hand 
was dark red. I spoke to Kari again; this time 
he did not shake his head so furiously. He was 
rather willing to listen and I told him I was 
very sorry about his trunk but could do noth- 
ing here, I also told him to go back to the road. 
He shook his head that meant "No." Do you 
know why he did not want to go back to that 

How Kari Saved Our Lives 25 

road? You shall learn at the end of this story. 

I got upon his back again. "Since he won't 
go back to the road," said my brother, "we 
must give him the master call so that he can 
make a road through the jungle" and we gave 
him the master call. 

At this Kari lifted his bleeding trunk and 
smote down the first tree, and then he struck 
down the next tree. He came upon a third 
which his trunk could not pull down, so he 
turned around and walked away from it. 
After taking a few steps he stopped and slowly 
walked backwards and with one push of his 
back, knocked this tree down. 

At this we could hear the flocks of birds 
flying in the air and feel the stamping feet 
below as herds of animals ran in every direc- 
tion. We heard the vibrant jabber of monkeys 
from tree-tops, and each time a new tree fell 
there was more jabbering and more leaping 
away from tree to tree. 

We clung to the elephant's back with our 
nails and teeth. 

26 Kari the Elephant 

Soon we found ourselves on the road, three 
miles ahead of where Kari had been frightened 
by the bear. 

Do you know why he did not go back to 
the same spot? Because no animal ever likes 
to return to the place where he lost his pride. 
For to be frightened is to lose one's pride. 



WHEN Kari was about five years old, 
another adventure befell him. We 
took him to see the town, but before 
we had started, we tried to train him to like 
dogs and monkeys. Elephants are proverbi- 
ally irritated by dogs. When an elephant goes 
through a village, every dog barks at him, and 
while most elephants are too dignified to pay 
any attention, there are some who get ex- 
tremely annoyed and try to chase the dogs. 
Sometimes, in fact, an elephant will chase a 
dog so hard that he will lose his way in the 

Knowing that there were many unknown 
little hamlets between our village and the city, 
we thought we would train Kari to like dogs 

30 Kari the Elephant 

before we started, for we did not want to be led 
astray into all sorts of little alleys while he 
chased the dogs who had annoyed him. 

But as all the dogs of our village had seen 
Kari grow up they never paid any attention 
to him, and that made it all the more difficult 
to train Kari to like other dogs. He always 
thought the dogs in our little village were the 
right kind since they did not bark at him. 
Whenever a strange dog barked at him, he 
would chase the poor creature through the 
whole village and waste hours in finding his 
way back to the road. 

We tried to train Kari by taking him to vil- 
lages that he had not yet seen. There were no 
dogs in the first village we came to. We went 
through it without any trouble. In the second 
village we came across one or two dogs that 
barked a few times, then disappeared in the 
distance. Then, as we were leaving this village 
we heard terrible snorts and growls all around 
us and were suddenly surrounded by a pack of 
angry mongrels, curs and wild dogs. It was 

Kari Goes to Town 31 

terrible to see Kari trying to chase them with 
his trunk. Sometimes he would try to step 
right on the back of a dog, but the dog would 
slip away from under him. Little by little as 
the dogs began to bark all around him, he 
started to go round and round in a circle, faster 
and faster till he was spinning like a top. 

We had a hard time sittting on his back be- 
cause we felt terribly dizzy. We were almost 
falling off, when we heard a piercing yell and 
saw the whole pack of tormentors running 
away. Kari had stepped on one of the dogs 
and killed it and that frightened the others 

We then brought Kari home, gave him his 
bath in the river and offered him nice saplings 
and twigs, but he would eat none of them. 

From that day on, Kari was never upset by 
the barking of dogs, but went through strange 
villages without paying any attention to them, 
no matter how hard they barked at his heels. 

Now that he had become immune to dogs, 
we tried to make him like monkeys. Monkeys, 

32 Kari the Elephant 

as you know, are very annoying little creatures. 
I had a pet monkey of my own named Kopee, 
who was red-faced and tawny-coated. He 
never came near the elephant, and Kari never 
thought of going near him. Whenever we 
went out, this monkey used to sit on my 
shoulder, and if we passed through bazaars 
where mangoes and other fruits were sold, it 
was very difficult to keep Kopee from getting 
into mischief. In India everything is shown in 
the open, and the mangoes lie in baskets piled 
up one above the other like little hills. There 
were places where oranges were heaped up like 
big burning rocks. Here and there you could 
see brown men robed in white sitting near these 
mountains of fruit, bargaining about the 

Now it is very good to smell the fragrance of 
fruit, and one day while going through the 
lane of a village, as the fragrance of the fruit 
grew stronger, I forgot all about Kopee, and 
did not realize that I was carrying him on my 

Kari Goes to Town 33 

Somehow the little monkey always knew 
when I was not thinking of him. At such mo- 
ments he would invariably jump off my 
shoulder and run straight for the oranges or 
mangoes, take one or two of them and then 
make a dive for a sheltered spot. This upset 
the whole bazaar. Hundreds of men would 
pursue him from tree to tree, yelling and 
throwing stones till he vanished out of sight. 

Of course, I used to get terribly frightened, 
fearing that the men would attack me for 
carrying such a mischievous monkey. I would 
hurry out of the bazaar and make for home as 
fast as I could go. Then in an hour or two I 
would find Kopee on the house top, looking 
perfectly innocent and scratching himself. No 
one could ever tell by his face that he had stolen 
fruit a short while before. 

When the time came for me to go to town, I 
was anxious to take Kopee and Kari with me, 
and I wanted the elephant to like the monkey 
and the monkey to behave like a gentleman to- 
ward the elephant. One day I brought the 

34 Kari the Elephant 

monkey on my shoulder and held him tight 
with both hands in front of the pavilion where 
the elephant was busy eating all kinds of sap- 
lings. Sometimes he would take a strong twig 
and unravel the top into a soft, fluffy tuft ; then 
he would seize the other end of it with his trunk 
and brush himself. The moment he saw the 
monkey, he snorted and raised his trunk to 
grab him. With one wild scream the monkey 
jumped off my shoulder, climbed up the pavil- 
ion post and disappeared on the roof. 

I went to Kari and spoke to him. I said, 
"Kari, in order to like dogs you killed one, now 
don't kill my monkey in order to like mon- 
keys." He was very displeased that I should 
ever want him to like monkeys, because ele- 
phants are very much like some people who 
don't like to associate with others who have 
come from nowhere and whom they consider 
their inferiors. Elephants don't like to asso- 
ciate with monkeys, for they came from no- 
where. You must remember, too, that ele- 
phants rarely see monkeys because monkeys 

Kari Goes to Town 35 

are above the elephants most of the time, jump- 
ing and squealing among the trees in a manner 
most annoying to a quiet and sedate creature 
like an elephant. 

It did not take more than a week, however, 
to bring Kari and Kopee together. One day 
there was a pile of fruit lying in the open, and 
the elephant stood at one end eating and the 
monkey at the other, both enjoying the feast. 
Of course, the elephant ate faster than the 
monkey, and realizing this, Kopee began to 
eat more quickly and soon had enormous 
pouches on each side of his face. Before long 
all the fruit was gone and the two animals 
were left facing each other. The monkey 
trembled with fear. He was almost on the 
point of running away to a tree-top, but, no 
one knows why, the elephant turned away from 
him and went into his pavilion. This gave the 
monkey great courage, so he went straight up 
to the roof of the pavilion, and peering down 
through the eaves, found out that the elephant 
lived on twigs and fruits and saplings just like 

36 Kari the Elephant 

himself. Having watched all this, I then got up 
on Kari's back and whistled to the monkey. He 
leaped down from the tree onto my shoulder. 
The elephant shivered for a moment and then 
was absolutely still. When I ordered him 
"mali," he walked on. 

One day I took them to the bazaar, I on the 
elephant and the monkey on my shoulder. 
When we had reached a mountain of mangoes 
round the corner of a lane, the monkey jumped 
off and climbed up to the top of the pile. At 
this the owner of the fruit chased him away, 
yelling and shouting. The monkey climbed 
up the roof of a house, followed by a crowd. 
Kari, however, put out his trunk and helped 
himself to whatever fruits he liked, eating them 
with great relish. The moment he heard the 
people coming back from the monkey chase, 
he ran away and you may be surprised to 
know that when an elephant runs, he can go 
more than ten miles an hour. By the time we 
reached home, Kopee had buried his face in an 
enormous mango and was covered with the 

r ,ir 

Kari Goes to Town 37 

juice. And you know that mangoes taste 
very much like strawberries and cream with 
sugar on them. 

At last we set off for the city, Kari, and 
Kopee now the best of friends. It was very 
interesting at night going through the jungle 
country. The moonlight was intense, falling 
like white waters on the land. You could see 
the tree-tops, and at midnight almost clear 
down to the very floor of the jungle where the 
shadows were thick like packs of wolves crouch- 
ing in sleep. The elephant went through these 
regions perfectly care-free. He did not care 
who came or went or what happened. 

But not so the monkey. Monkeys, you 
know, are always afraid of snakes, and do you 
know why? Snakes go up trees and eat birds 
and their younglings. Monkeys also live by 
stealing eggs from different birds' nests. Now 
it sometimes happens that the snake eats all 
the birds' eggs in the nest and is resting there 
when the monkey puts his hands in to grab the 
eggs, so the monkey instead of getting the eggs 

38 Kari the Elephant 

is stung to death. As this sort of thing h&s 
been happening for thousands of years, it is 
natural that they fear snakes. 

Monkeys also get punished for using their 
hands too much. Now, if you come across a 
snake, the best thing to do is not to touch it. 
Monkeys, however, accustomed to using their 
hands continually, grab a snake whenever they 
see one with the result that the snake usu- 
ally stings them to death. I have never seen 
a snake do this, but I have seen dead snakes 
with marks on their bodies showing that mon- 
keys had twisted them like ropes, broken their 
backs and thrown them down before the snakes 
could use their fangs. This, however, is very 

As we were going through the jungle that 
night, Kopee would shiver with terror when- 
ever there was a swish of a snake's body in the 
grass below or in the leaves above, and I had to 
put my hand on his back and whisper, "Don't 
be afraid, you are on the elephant's back and 
nothing can touch you." 

Kari Goes to Town 39 

Another thing that used to frighten him was 
the hooting of the night owl. Any monkey 
that lives in the jungle is used to it, but as 
Kopee was born among human beings and had 
always lived with them, he had never heard 
jungle noises. When the owls beat their wings 
and gave the mating call and hoot, it was like 
a foam of noise rising over a river of silence. 
I, too, was alarmed when I would suddenly 
hear the hooting in my sleep, but both Kopee 
and I soon got used to it. 

About four o'clock in the morning Kari 
stopped and refused to go a step further. 
Though I was asleep, Kopee began to pull me 
by the hand, and instantly after being aroused, 
I heard, or rather felt, as if clouds were passing 
by. The monkey's eyes were all eagerness and 
burning with excitement, and I looked down 
where he was looking. The honey-colored 
moon was casting slanting rays into the jungle 
through dark moving clouds. We did not 
know what we saw. It seemed as though two 
or three hundred wild elephants in a herd were 

40 Karl the Elephant 

going through the jungle, or perhaps the 
clouds were feeding on the leaves that night. 
No one knows what it was, but we did know 
Silence walked by, telling us of the mysteries 
of the jungle, and we could not understand. 

Then out of the stillness a bird's note fell 
through the jungle and there was a gleam of 
whiteness. That instant Silence was lifted, 
dawn began to sing through the jungle and 
you could hear its flute-like call fading away 
in the distance, followed by a momentary hush. 
Then the birds began to sing, and soon the sun 
came leaping over the forest like a horse of 
flame. This must have taken at least an hour 
and a half, but we did not even know when the 
elephant resumed his walk. 

We soon came to a river where we stopped. 
I gave the elephant his bath. The monkey 
went off in search of food from tree to tree. 
Then I bathed myself and stood facing the 
East, saying these words of prayer: 

"O Blossom of Eastern Silence,; 
Reveal to us the face of God, 

Kari Goes to Town 41 

Whose shadow is this day, and 
Whose light is always within us. 
Lead us from the unreal to the Real, 
From sound into Silence, 
From darkness unto Light, and 
From death into Immortality." 

In India every hour has its prayer and every 
prayer can be said unconsciously anywhere. 
Nobody notices you if you kneel down on the 
road to say your prayer, in spite of the fact 
that you are blocking the traffic. Religion runs 
like singing waters by the shores of every 
human life in India. 

I went to the forest nearby and got the ele- 
phant his food, and as he started to eat I began 
to cook my own meal. When traveling, it is 
better to cook one's own meal so that it will be 
clean and uncontaminated. Very soon I saw 
a caravan coming. Apparently Kopee had 
seen it from the tree-top as he was chattering 
with great excitement to tell me it was coming. 
I told him to hold his tongue because the ele- 
phant was getting restless. 

I decided to go with the caravan into the 

42 Kari the Elephant 

town because the caravan people knew the 
shortest way. I also preferred to travel in 
human company rather than alone. No sooner 
had the caravan reached us than our attention 
was drawn to the faces of the camels probing 
the distance. You know how a camel examines 
the air as he goes along he is continually 
stretching forth his head and smelling the air, 
and he can do this easily with his long neck. 
As camels live in the desert they must keep 
smelling the air to find out its humidity. Every 
time the air is very humid they know that water 
is nearby. That is why we call camels the ex- 
aminers of space; in your country you would 
call them animal barometers. 

The moment Kari saw the camels he snorted 
in anger, though the monkey was excited and 
thrilled. You see, elephants are the aristocrats 
of animals, while camels are snobs. You can 
easily tell a snob, he holds his head in a very 
supercilious way, always looking down on 
everyone, and don't you think if you put a 
monocle on a camel's eye he would look like 

Kari Goes to Town 43 

any snob that walks down the avenue? Never- 
theless, I made my elephant join the camels. 
That is to say, we kept about one hundred 
yards behind them because I could not let the 
monkey bound from camel hump to camel 
hump, and it would not do to let the elephant 
put his trunk about the camels' necks and twist 

Toward midday the whole caravan stopped 
and all the animals were tied under different 
trees for two or three hours to rest. As we 
knew we could easily reach the city by sun- 
down, we all enjoyed our siesta. About half- 
past three, the doves began to coo, and that 
made the monkey sit up and listen. Being a 
dweller of the trees by birth, Kopee was always 
sensitive to tree sounds. Soon a cuckoo called 
from the distance and in a few moments the 
caravan was ready to move on. Nothing ex- 
citing happened the rest of the journey. 




A the sun went down in the gathering 
silence of the evening, we entered the 
city of Benares, the oldest city in 
India. For three thousand years stone has 
been laid on stone to keep this city with its 
haughty towers and sombre domes above the 
rushing and destroying currents of the sacred 
river. The river like a liquid ax is continually 
cutting away the foundations of the city. At 
night you can hear the whispering Ganges 
gnawing at the stone embankments. And that 
is why all the tall towers of Benares lean 
slightly over the water's edge. Their roots are 
being cut as beavers cut the roots of trees. 
And any Hindu who comes into Benares feels 
the age of India; she has lived very long in- 


48 Kari the Elephant 

deed too long, and it seems time no more clings 
to her than the morning dew clings to the lion's 

We went through Benares in a long, narrow 
file. The camels went first, and the monkey, 
who had jumped off my shoulder, was leaping 
from roof to roof following the tide of the 
caravan. Sometimes he would run ahead and 
chatter; and then suddenly disappear among 
roofs and walls. Then he would rush back to 
talk to me. I fastened two silver bells dang- 
ling from silver chains to the elephant's sides, 
and the cool sound of the bells sank into the 
cooler serenity of the Indian evening. People 
were walking about in purple and gold togas ; 
on the house-tops were pigeons whose throats 
shone like iridescent beads. Through latticed 
balconies you could see the faces of women 
with eyes warm and tranquil as the midnight. 

We had not gone very far when Kari put 
out his trunk and took a peacock fan out of a 
lady's hand as she leant against the railing of 
a balcony. He then proceeded to give it to me. 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 49 

I made him stop and give it back to its owner. 
The lady, however, would not take it. "Oh, 
little dreamer of the evening," she said, "cool 
thyself with my peacock fan. Thy elephant is 
very wise, but I am afraid he is no worse a 
scamp than thou art." 

I took the fan, made my bow to the lady 
and went on. Hardly had we gone two more 
blocks when the screaming and jabbering 
monkey fell upon us. Behind him on the roof 
of one of the houses we saw a man with a 
long cudgel which he shook at the monkey. I 
stopped the elephant again and said to the 
man, "Why art thou irate when the evening is 
so cool, little man of the city?" 

"That monkey ! Ten thousand curses upon 
him !" he said. "He has been teasing my parrot 
in its cage, and has plucked so many of its 
feathers that it now looks like a beaked rat." 

"I shall indeed punish this wayward mon- 
key," I answered. "But thou knowest that 
monkeys are no less wayward than thou 
and I." 

50 Kari the Elephant 

At this the man on the roof got very angry 
and began to hurl all kinds of abuses at me, but 
I prodded the elephant with my foot and he 
walked on, while the swearing and cursing of 
the little man of the city resounded in the still- 
ness of the night. Nothing befell us that night 
as we took shelter in the open grounds outside 
of the city. 

The following morning long before day- 
break, I heard nothing but the beat, beat, beat 
of unknown feet on the dusky pavement of 
Benares. It seemed as though the stillness of 
the night were hurrying away. I left my ani- 
mals where they were and went in quest of 
these beating feet. There is something sinister 
in this walk of the Hindu. The Hindu walks 
with a great deal of poise, in fact, very much 
like an elephant, but he also has the agility of 
the panther. I did not realize it until that 
early morning when I heard the moving feet, 
as one hears dogs on the hurrying heels of a 

Soon I reached the river bank where I saw 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 51 

thousands and thousands of pilgrims crowding 
the steps of the Ghaut, the staircase leading to 
the river, bathing and waiting to greet the 
dawn. As I followed their example and took 
my bath, there arose over the swaying crowd 
and the beating feet, a murmur like the spray 
of foam on the seashore after the breakers have 
dashed against the beach. Then the day broke 
like two horses of livid light rushing through 
the air. In the tropics the daybreak is very 
sudden. Hardly had those streaks of light 
spent themselves through the sky and over the 
waters, when a golden glow fell upon the faces 
of the people and they raised their hands in a 
gesture of benediction, greeting the morning 
sun which rose like a mountain of crimson 
under a tide of gold. All of us said our morn- 
ing prayer, thousands of voices intoning to- 

I could not stay at the Ghaut very long, 
however. I knew my animals would be looking 
for me, so I hastened back. Lo and behold, 
this sight greeted me! The monkey was sit- 

52 Kari the Elephant 

ting on the neck of the elephant, and Kari, who 
had never been accustomed to that sort of 
thing was running all around, raising his trunk 
and bending it backwards to reach the monkey 
in frantic efforts to shake him off. The one 
spot that an elephant cannot shake, however, 
is his neck, so the monkey stayed there per- 
fectly calm, looking into space, secure in his 

I shouted to Kari to stop, and seeing me, he 
came rushing towards me, trembling. He 
made an effort to shake Kopee off, but the 
monkey was glued to his neck. I swore at 
Kopee and told him to get off. He looked 
down at me as if nothing had happened. I, 
too, was very irritated, for even I had never 
seen a monkey on an elephant's neck. That is 
considered very improper. I threw a stone at 
the monkey and he jumped from the elephant's 
neck, went straight up a tree and stayed there. 
I patted Kari's back and tried to soothe him. 
Then I took him by the ear and we walked into 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 53 

Karl loved human beings; the more he saw 
them, the happier he felt. He glided by them 
like a human child. I was very proud of him 
and his behavior. As we went on our way, a 
mouse ran out of a hole in the foundations 
of a house in front of us. Kari turned around, 
curled up his trunk, put it in his mouth and 
ran. You see elephants are not afraid of any- 
thing except mice, for a mouse can crawl into 
an elephant's trunk and disappear in his head. 
I was humiliated beyond measure at Kari's 
behavior. He did not stop till he reached the 
open ground which we had left half an hour be- 
fore. The monkey was still sitting in the tree. 
Seeing us, he shook a purse at me. He had 
stolen somebody's purse and was holding it in 
his hands waiting for it to be ransomed. 

Monkeys are very much like bandits. Once, 
I remember, my little sister who was two 
months old, was lying in a basket on the ver- 
anda. Suddenly we heard her crying, and go- 
ing out on the veranda found that she was 
not there. Basket and all had disappeared. 

54 Kari the Elephant 

Then we looked up at a tree and tfiere was an 
enormous baboon looking down at us, while 
with one hand he held the basket, which was 
resting on a branch. My father, however, 
knew what to do. He sent a servant at once 
to the bazaar, and in the meantime brought all 
of the fruit in the house and spread it on the 
floor of the veranda. The monkey shook his 
head, meaning that was not ransom enough for 
him. Very soon the servant returned with an 
enormous quantity of bananas. The baboon 
immediately came down, and it was remark- 
able how he brought down the basket without 
upsetting it. 

My mother, all this while, was weeping 
silently, leaning against the door. But now 
her grief was turned to gladness, for lo, and 
behold, there was the baby asleep in the basket 
on the veranda, while the baboon sat on a pile 
of bananas giving a strange monkey call to 
other monkeys. 

Scarcely had we taken the baby into the 
house and shut the glass doors of the veranda, 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 55 

when we heard monkeys hooting and calling 
from all directions, leaping from tree to tree 
and falling with a great thud on our roof. In 
ten minutes the veranda became a regular par- 
liament of monkeys chattering over their din- 
ners. After this we were very careful about 
the baby. Every time she was put out, a man 
or woman with a stick always watched over her. 
Remembering now what had happened to 
my sister years ago, I called to the men of the 
caravan who had not yet started and told them 
the monkey had the purse. True enough, one 
of them was accusing his servant of having 
stolen his purse. I told them to buy some 
bananas and leave them under the tree, and in 
the course of the day the monkey would come 
down, leave the purse and take the bananas. 
I had been humiliated by my elephant, and 
now being disgusted with my monkey, I took 
Kari into town again. This time I had my 
ankus with me, so that in case he should run 
away again I could prick his neck and make 
him behave. 

56 Kari the Elephant 

We went by jewelers' shops where they were 
cutting diamonds, and stopped in front of the 
goldsmith's door. Seeing us wait there, the 
smith came out. "What do you want, do you 
want gold rings for your elephant's tusks?" 
You know they put rings on elephant's tusks 
as human beings put gold in their teeth. 

"His tusks have just begun to sprout; 
they're too beautiful to spoil with rings yet," 
I answered. 

"But my rings always make tusks more 
beautiful," was his retort. 

I answered, "All the city folk think that 
what they do makes everything beautiful. 
Why don't they make their dirty city beauti- 

The smith was angry. "If thou be not a 
buyer of gold, nor a vendor of silver, tarry 
not at my door; I have no time for beggars." 

As we trotted off, I called back, "I do not 
sell silver, nor do I buy gold, but when my 
elephant grows up, he will have such tusks that 
you will cast eyes of envy on them. But this 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 57 

elephant will live more than one hundred and 
twenty-five years and thou shalt be dead by 
then, and so there will be no chance of soiling 
his ivory by buying thy gold." 

We walked on very silently through the city, 
and then of a sudden a pack of dogs were 
upon us. We knew not whence they had come. 
Kari was as dignified as a mountain ; he never 
noticed them, but the less attention he paid to 
them, the more audacious the dogs grew. They 
came after us and I did not know what to do, 
as I did not even have a stone to throw at them. 
In a few moments, we were hemmed in by 
packs of dogs. Quickly now, Kari turned 
round and in an instant lifted a dog into the air 
with his trunk. As the dog would have been 
dashed into bits, I yelled into his ear, "Brother, 
brother, do not kill him, but let him down 
gently, he will not bite you." 

At this moment the dog gave such a terrible 
cry of pain as the trunk was coming down that 
Kari stopped and slowly brought him to the 
ground. The dog, however, was already dead; 

58 Kari the Elephant 

the pressure of the trunk had killed him, and 
the other dogs, seeing his fate, had already run 

Kari walked rapidly out of the city and I 
was heart-sick. He went straight to the river 
bank and with great difficulty walked down the 
steps of the Ghaut and buried all except his 
trunk in the water. He stood there knowing 
that I knew that he had done something wrong 
and he was trying to cleanse himself of it. I, 
too, took my bath. 

Late in the afternoon, we went back and 
found Kopee still sitting on the same tree and 
looking for us, as the caravan had left long 
ago. Judging by the banana peels under the 
trees, we realized he had had his dinner. Kari 
and I, however, were very hungry and we were 
both sick of the city. We did not want to see 
it again, so I called to the monkey to follow 
and urged the elephant to go on to the nearest 
forest. Kopee, with one leap, jumped on my 
neck as I sat on the elephant's back. 

Karl's Adventure in Benares 59 

This ended Karl's expedition to the city. It 
is better for animals to be where the jungle is, 
for the jungle is sweeter and kinder than that 
wilderness of stones the city. 



IT took us much longer to return home. 
We lost nearly twenty-four hours in a 
jungle where we had the strangest ex- 
periences of our lives. We had already cov- 
ered half the distance when one day at noon 
we reached the river across which lay the 
jungle. It was so hot that Kari would not go 
any further. The moment he smelled the 
moist earth of the river bank, he literally ran 
into the water and lay there. Kopee and I 
had to sit on his back, while the waves of the 
river played around us as the waves of the sea 
play around an island. Kari kept his trunk 
above the water, and when he moved we almost 
fell off his back. The monkey clung to me, for, 
as you know, monkeys do not know how to 

64 Kari the Elephant 

swim. There are two reasons why monkeys 
are afraid of the water; not only are they un- 
able to swim because the fingers of their hands 
are not webbed together as are ducks' toes, but 
being accustomed to go through the air by 
leaping from branch to branch, they think that 
they should leap from place to place in the 

Seeing that the elephant was wayward, I 
told Kopee to hold on to my head. Then I 
swam ashore and waited for the elephant to 
come out. Now that we were off his back, he 
raised himself a little above the water and be- 
gan to draw vast quantities of water up his 
trunk and snorted it out at the monkey who 
was running up and down the shore, chattering 
fiercely and keeping at a safe distance to 
avoid being drenched. 

This shows that elephants have a sense of 
humor. They always know where to keep a 
monkey, and it is the monkey's business to 
know when the elephant is going to indulge in 

The Jungle Spirit 65 

As elephants do not know that monkeys can- 
not swim, I was afraid that if Kopee was not 
careful, Kari might throw him into the river 
for fun, and that would have been the end of 

I soon forgot the elephant and the monkey, 
however, and fell asleep on the river bank. I 
was awakened by a terrible cry from the mon- 
key and a trumpeting from the elephant. I 
sat up with a start and I saw Kopee sitting 
on the ground shivering with terror, and Kari 
standing in front of him, waving his trunk in 
the air and trumpeting for all he was worth. 
I lay on the ground and lifted myself on my 
elbows. Through the elephant's legs I saw a 
great snake, right under him, held almost be- 
tween his forelegs. My blood congealed in 
terror. Of course Kari was five years old; his 
skin was so thick that the cobra could never 
bite deep enough to bury its poisonous fangs 
in his arteries. The monkey was hypnotized 
with fear, but he could neither run away, nor 

66 Kari the Elephant 

go forward, nor come to me. He sat there 
shivering with terror. 

I crept slyly around the elephant and ap- 
proached Kopee. I knew that if I touched 
him, he would turn around and bite me. He 
was so frightened that anything that touched 
him would mean to his excited brain only the 
sting of the snake. The idea that he would be 
stung to death had taken possession of the 
whole animal. 

I could now see what had happened. The 
elephant had stepped on the middle of the 
snake. Its back was broken and it could not 
move, but there was life in the rest of its body 
and it was standing erect like a sharp column 
of ebony, its black hood with a white mark on 
it spread out as large as the palm of a man's 
hand. Of course, it could not stay in that posi- 
tion long. It swayed and almost fell to the 
ground. The moment that happened, Kari 
raised his foot and put it down on the snake's 
neck. But the snake lifted up its head in such 
a way that whenever there was a chance for the 

The Jungle Spirit 67 

elephant to put his foot on its head it would 
immediately raise itself on its broken back. Its 
agony must have been great, yet it would not 
give in for a long time. 

As the snake could not move with its back 
broken and the foot of the elephant still on it, 
I knew I had better go and kill it with a stick. 
As I approached it with my stick, the monkey's 
eyes which had been fixed on the snake, sud- 
denly moved. He looked at me and bounded 
off with a piercing, chattering yell towards the 
nearest tree. The spirit of terror that had held 
him hypnotized so long was broken at last, for 
he had seen someone who could kill the snake. 

The moment the monkey bounded off, the 
snake stung the elephant's toe nails, those 
horny plates around his feet. This is a vital 
spot, as the arteries come very near the surface. 
Knowing this, Kari raised his foot. Evidently 
he was not hurt, but I was not sure how long 
he could stand on three legs. I was also afraid 
that he would fall and bring his trunk near 
the snake, and any snake can poison an ele- 

68 Kari the Elephant 

phant by stinging the end of his trunk. I hit 
the snake on the head with my stick, but instead 
of striking his head, the stick slipped down that 
ebony column which was still standing erect. 
Fortunately, in order to avert the next blow, 
the snake fell on his side. That very instant 
the up -raised foot of the elephant was on his 

Kari walked away and pawed the sand with 
his feet to cleanse them. I thought of calling 
to Kopee who had taken refuge on a tree-top, 
but I was so anxious to know whether the ele- 
phant's foot was hurt or not, that I followed 
him about until he let me look at it. I was 
relieved to see that the skin of his foot had not 
been broken. 

Then I called to the monkey to come down 
from the tree. He shook his head. I knew 
he was so ashamed of being afraid that he pre- 
ferred to be alone in the privacy of the tree in 
order to gather his forces together. 

The sun was beginning to sink. The jungle 

The Jungle Spirit 69 

was not very far off and I was certain that the 
breeze blowing across the river had taken the 
scent of human beings into the depths of the 

The twilight came swiftly. The bars of gold 
and light vibrated over the tawny waters, and 
darkness fell like a black sword, cutting the 
day from the night. The voices of the birds 
from the tree-tops, here and there died down, 
and as if to enhance the silence, insect voices 
came from under the grass. I got on my ele- 
phant's back and sat there quietly, for as the 
evening Silence goes by, each man must make 
his prayer. As the Silence walked on, I could 
see the grass waving in zig-zag curves across 
the river. It was always making half the fig- 
ure eight in the undergrowth of the jungle. 

Gradually all grew still and then over the 
river came the terrible hunger wail of a tiger. 
That instant its tawny face scarred with black 
emerged from behind green leaves. He saw I 
was across the river. The tiger's body is 

70 Kari the Elephant 

marked with the same stripes and curves as he 
makes in the grass when he walks, and people 
in the jungle can always tell by the wave of the 
grass which animal has passed that way. 

Throughout the countryside, wherever the 
echo of the wail was heard, a tension fell upon 
everything. Even the saplings were tense, and 
you could almost hear the cracking of the 
muscles of the animals holding themselves to- 
gether and watching which way the tiger would 
pass. It was as if the horn of the chase had 
sounded and blown; each one had to take to 

Night came on apace. I wanted to tie 
Kari to a big tree, but he refused to be tied up 
that night. He paced up and down the shore 
without making the slightest noise. Then he 
would suddenly stand still and stop the waving 
of his ears in order to listen very intently to 
shadows of songs that might be passing. I 
stayed on his back, intent on knowing what he 
was going to do. Soon, very soon, the river 

The Jungle Spirit 71 

became silver-yellow and over the jungle a 
quickening silence throbbed from leaf to leaf. 

Then swiftly the terrible face of the moon 
was upon us. Kari snorted and stepped back- 
wards. I, too, was surprised because this was 
another moon, very rarely seen by men. It 
was the moon bringing the call of the summer 
to the jungle. It was the call for hunt and 
challenge, when elephants kill elephants to win 
their mates. And under the moon lay a great 
sinister figure like the terrible face of a dragon. 

The July cloud was hovering in the distance, 
and between the cloud-banks and the moon I 
saw strange things, as if throngs of white ani- 
mals were going from sky to sky I don't 
know why no one ever knows. These are the 
spirits of the jungle, the dead ancestors of the 
animals now living. 

Without warning, Kari now plunged into 
the river. I spoke to him, scratched his neck 
with the ankus, but he would not stop. He 
'forded the river, at times almost drowning, 

72 Kari the Elephant 

and charged madly up the other shore, where 
we were lost in the darkness of leaves and vines. 
No moonlight fell on us, not even the knowl- 
edge that the moon was up could be vouched 
for in this thick black place. 



I CANNOT tell how many hours passed. 
I think I fell asleep, but perhaps I saw 
this waking I cannot tell. Suddenly 
Kari's face changed. He moved his eyes for- 
ward, looked at me, and said: 

"Brother, this is the night of the jungle and 
I want you to hear a tale that my mother told 
me when I was four months old, and still roam- 
ing in the jungle. That was a short time be- 
fore she and I were captured by men. I was 
born near the foot-hills of the Himalayas, for 
the snow-covered mountains could be seen in 
the distance, but we elephants were so proud of 
our own height that we never bothered about 
the hills. I once asked my mother, 'Why do 
tigers smell like this? Wherever a tiger goes, 


76 Kari the Elephant 

he brings a terrible stench with him.' This is 
what she told me: 

" 'Every animal that lives in the jungle is 
born to one kind of food or another. He either 
eats meat or he lives on herbs and fruits. Those 
who eat herbs never hate or fear, but those who 
eat other animals are tainted with both. We 
elephants never fear anyone or hate anyone 
and that is why we exude no stench, but a 
tiger has to live by killing. In order to kill 
one must hate, and in order to hate one must 
fear, and those spirits that you see walking 
through the air have taught all animals the 
secret of the jungle. 

" 'Now the secret of the jungle is this the 
animal that lives by killing is diseased. He 
carries a strange, festering sore within him and 
that poisons his whole blood. Wherever he 
goes the stench of that poison reaches other 
animals, and this mother of us all who loves 
tigers, as well as the antelopes they kill, is so 
wise that animals that kill must be branded 
so that their victims will be able to take shelter. 

Karl's Story 77 

For this reason wherever the tiger goes his 
stench precedes him, and knowing this the fox 
comes out of his little hole and calls through 
the jungle that the tiger is out. Hence, here 
in the night when the moonlight falls on the 
thickest gloom, following the plaintive cry, the 
cunning fox, the servant of our mother, threads 
its way through the jungle giving the warning 
to all animals.' 

"Very soon one sees the black form of a tiger 
moving in the moonlight without the slightest 
sound. He never attacks elephants. After he 
passes, the horrible smell of carnage grows less 
and less, and then another fox gives the call 
throughout the jungle, telling the animals that 
the tiger has passed. 

"If on the morrow thou comest to the same 
spot where the tiger and fox have passed, thou 
shalt not find a trace of their coming and going 
for it is the law of the jungle that no animal 
leaves the mark of his foot or the stain of his 
presence on leaves or grass. The victims of the 
tiger dare not leave footprints for it will give 

78 Kari the Elephant 

away their whereabouts. The chita, the tiger, 
and even the wild cats who live by killing, leave 
no trace behind. And that is why the dwelling 
of men annoys me so; they cannot even raise 
their heads without disturbing the air." 

In my dream, I asked him, "How did you 
live with your elephant mother in the jungle?" 

"Our life was a playing and a toil," he an- 
swered, "but the toil was a playing, and the 
playing was a toil. When the leaves began to 
get crisp and colored and the sun called us to 
the South, we would leave the foot-hills of the 
Himalayas and follow the sacred river bed 
through vast forest lanes, going further and 
further south. Time and again we would 
come to dwellings of men. How wretched are 
men! Wherever they go they murder trees 
and slaughter forests! And in these comings 
and goings, I saw strange things. 

"One winter we came to jungles on the sea- 
shore where I saw crocodiles lying on the banks 
of the Delta in the daytime, with their mouths 
open and little birds going in and out of them, 

Kan's Story 79 

cleaning their teeth, and eating all the insects 
that poison their gums. It is a pity we ele- 
phants have no birds to clean our teeth. And, 
there too, even in the water you could smell 
animals that lived on other animals. 

"When we traveled, the old male masters 
went first, then the children, then babies and the 
mothers, and in the rear all the maidens and 
young fathers. When we went to sleep at 
night, the old ones made a ring of tusks, within 
which the young maids and the males each 
made rings, and in that triple ring we children 
slept guarded by elephants and stars. In my 
sleep in the jungle I have seen elephant ghosts 
in the sky shaking their tusks of lightning, 
roaring in anger and battling with the moon. 
These elephants of the sky are our dead an- 
cestors watching over us. You know, in the 
beginning, elephants ruled over all other ani- 
mals, and hence, men and monkeys and snakes 
and tigers were created." 

"Who made the rhinoceros?" I asked in my 

8o Kari the Elephant 

"The rhinoceros," Kari answered, "is a way- 
ward elephant. Once when our ancestors were 
making a very beautiful animal they fell 
asleep, They had already completed the thick 
hide and the small legs, when some malicious 
spirit completed the head and instead of put- 
ting a trunk put a horn on it, and that is why 
the rhinoceros goes through the jungle like a 
spirit of evil. Dost thou not hear him coming 
tonight? The trees are falling and the sap- 
lings are cracking. The rhinoceros is snorting. 
That is the way of his coming; wherever he 
goes he carries destruction before him and he 
is not afraid to leave a trail behind, for no ani- 
mal could kill him and tigers do not want to 
kill him because they cannot get beyond his 

That minute a tall tree fell in front of us 
and the raging rhinoceros went by. 

"Why does he walk straight?" I said to 
Kari. "Most animals do not." 

"Only the well-born go round," Kari said. 

Karl's Story 81 

"The ill-bred find the shortest road to every- 

Just then there was a stillness in the jungle 
and from nowhere, like marching clouds, 
came herds of elephants, silent and slow. 
Above there was no light. A vast blackness 
had been spread over the stars and moon, and 
throughout the gloom beyond there was a sing- 
ing and an eagerness. 

"Go up the tree," Kari said to me. "I want 
to be rid of you tonight." 

Sleeping or dreaming I do not know I 
did his bidding and then saw Kari stand and 
give a call and the whole elephant herd 
stopped. I could understand everything they 
said; and when they looked at him some of the 
young elephants laughed, "Look, he has the 
mark of a chain on his ankle; he bears the 
slavery of man." 

Kari raised his trunk and silenced their silly 
chatter by trumpeting. Then he said, "I want 
a mate tonight. How many of you free-born 
want to test my strength?" 

82 Kari the Elephant 

One of the young elephants said, "How old 
are you?" 

"There is no age to a hero," answered Kari. 

One of the elephants, the leader of the herd, 
shook his head. "We have amongst us young- 
lings who have taught tigers humility ; we have 
amongst us younglings who have broken hill- 
ocks with their fury, and pulled down the 
thickest trees of the jungle. So thou, man 
lover, temper thy speech to humility; it is not 
meet for thee to seek a bride amongst the free- 

Kari snorted and said, "Give forth the chal- 
lenge, I accept." And one of the elephants 
with two small tusks just coming out of his 
mouth stood out from the herd and trumpeted. 
Kari stood and a quiver ran through his mus- 
cles and I could see his body throb. "Don't 
be afraid," I whispered to him. "We have 
taught you the tale of man ; he does not know 

He waved his trunk at me and then plunged 
into the other elephant. The whole herd stood 

Kari's Story 83 

around and watched the fight. In a few mo- 
ments a young girl elephant stood apart from 
the herd, watching the fight, and I knew she 
was the prize of this battle. First they put 
their trunks together and bellowed. Then the 
two mountains of flesh bounded at each other 
as if hills were striking hills. As I have said 
before, Kari's tusks were not long enough to 
be of any \ise, so every time they crushed 
against each other Kari had to be very careful 
to avoid the other's tusks. 

At last their trunks came together and their 
bodies were tightly pinioned. They looked like 
a great mountain spinning round and round. 
There was a pause and Kari rose on his hind 
legs and held his front legs up. That instant 
the wild elephant let go of his trunk and leapt 
to cut Kari's trunk with his tusks, but before 
he could do that, Kari struck him on the head 
and he went reeling into the distance. He 
would have fallen if he had not struck against 
a tree, and if an elephant falls, that is the end 
of the battle. 

84 Kari the Elephant 

As Kari thought he had struck his opponent 
down, he stood there feeling victorious and I 
could see a shiver of relief going through Kis 
body. The other elephant, however, gauged 
the distance and came upon him again with 
great momentum. Before Kari realized what 
had happened, the elephant gored him with 
his tusks. Kari gave a painful yell, and walk- 
ing backwards drew his neck from the tusks of 
his opponent. I could feel a quake go through 
him as a tree which has just been cut throbs 
before it falls. 

The herd yelled, and shook their heads with 
great glee, whispering, "We have won." Then 
Kari began to walk in a circle. The other ele- 
phant did likewise and they faced each other. 
Now and then they would come close together; 
their trunks would strike each other, then they 
would separate and go around again. 

By this time the sky was black and the livid 
tongue of the lightning flickered on the crest 
of the clouds. But the rumble of the thunder 

Karl's Story 85 

could not be heard because the two elephants 
were trumpeting so loudly. 

Again they locked trunks and bodies and 
spun around. Quickly Kari released his trunk 
and stood aside, leaving the other elephant to 
go spinning against the herd. That instant 
Kari ran forward and struck the side of the 
other elephant, giving him a broad-side blow 
and throwing him on the ground. The herd 
scattered and a clamor of wonder spread from 
elephant to elephant. Kari rose on his hind 
legs and fell upon his opponent with his fore- 
feet, as he started to rise. The oldest elephant 
said, "It is done." At this the herd slunk 
away slowly and the beaten elephant was seen 
no more. 

t The female who was waiting for the end of 
this battle came up to Kari and they put their 
trunks together. A deafening crash of thunder 
fell upon the forest and the lightning was strik- 
ing trees far and near. A terrible deluge of 
rain came and blotted everything out of sight. 
I clung to the branch of my tree for fear I 

86 Kari the Elephant 

might be washed down to the ground. I do not 
know how long it rained. When I looked up, 
I could see that there was a white light above, 
but the rain was still falling on me. Then I 
realized that the foliage above my head was so 
thick that the raindrops were caught in it arid 
were still coming down. I did not dare to go 
up further into the tree, for the branches were 
very slippery, so I stayed until every drop of 
water had fallen. 

The moon set and I could hear all kinds of 
noises. Many animals were moving about. 
From the tree-top I heard the shaking of the 
coats of the monkey, and below on the ground 
I felt the heaving of hoofs on the wet grass. 
Then all this stopped and on the wet under- 
growth again there was a movement like the 
zig-zag stripe of the tiger's skin. 

Suddenly, there was a bark followed by a 
deafening roar and then the thud of a leaping 
body falling on the ground. The tiger had 
found his kill. You know the tiger has three 
different calls the hunger wail which is like 
a terrible sound cutting the jungle with hate; 


Kari's Story 87 

then the snorting bark of the tiger which means 
that he is nearing his prey; and then through 
the stillnes of the jungle, one hears his third 
call, the triumphant roar of the kill, which 
means that he has found his prey. This roar 
has a terrible effect on the victim ; it paralyzes 
him with terror, and like a lightning flash, 
along with the roar, the tiger falls upon his 
prey. This is just what was happening now 
a short while before sunrise. The tiger 
growled now and then to announce that he had 
had his dinner and then other small animals 
came up and fell upon the prey after he had 
left it. 

All the animals who had taken shelter in 
their lairs and holes during the rain were now 
beginning to come out. This morning there 
was no silence in the jungle; in the small hours 
all the animals were eager to get something 
to eat, so that by day -break they could go to 
sleep with something in their stomachs. When 
the dawn came, I saw Kari standing under the 
tree in the thick twilight under the foliage. 
came down on the ground to find traces of the 

88 Kari the Elephant 

struggle of the night. The rain had washed it 
all away, but as I got up and touched Kari's 
neck, he winced and I knew that the marks he 
bore were the only testimony of the battle. 

We went back across the river, and found 
Kopee there, wet and miserable. He was glad 
to get down from the tree and get on the ele- 
phant's back and feel the sunlight on his skin. 
I urged Kari to get him something to eat, but 
he would not hear of it, so we hastened back 
toward the village. On our way home, I veri- 
fied the law of the jungle, for Kari had really 
developed a slight stench. You may say that 
it was the wound that gave the odor, but I do 
not think so. When he went to war and bat- 
tled with another elephant, he must have hated 
as well as feared, and the smell of fear and hate 
was upon him. It took nearly a fortnight to 
wash the stench away from him, and you must 
remember that it was not the bathing in the 
water that did it. It was in the gentle care and 
friendship of the village that Kari gradually 
forgot to hate his enemy. 



I HAVE told you that Kari was not a 
hunting elephant. After that experience 
in the jungle, however, he seemed to be 
above all fear and surprise. On many occa- 
sions he showed such dignity and composure 
that one could not recognize in him the old, 
nervous beast. Apparently that battle with 
the wild elephant gave him such confidence in 
his own strength that from that time on no 
incident could surprise him. 

You do not know what music can do for 
animals. If you took a flute and played cer- 
tain tunes on it, all of the snakes would come 
out of their holes and dance to the music! 
There is supposed to be a kind of flower, like 
a sensitive plant, that can he put to sleep by 

92 Kari the Elephant 

the playing of a very delicate tune. I have 
seen with my own eyes how fond the deer are of 
music. Sometimes in the middle of the after- 
noon, if you stand on the edge of the forest 
and play your flute and slowly strike the notes 
which sound like the whistling call of the ante- 
lope, you will see a strange phenomenon. The 
deer generally bark, but they also give a whist- 
ling call. 

As I was playing my flute one afternoon, I 
remember distinctly that nothing happened for 
a while. I stopped and tried another tune. I 
heard a strange rustle in the leaves of the small 
plants of the jungle; but nothing came of it. 
Again I changed my tune and played on. 
This time even, the leaves did not move, so I 
was sure my flute was not catching the ear of 
any animal. I was heart-broken. I had gone 
to test my knowledge of flute-playing, but I 
found out that I could not attract any animal. 

It was getting late; the darkness of the 
jungle became thicker and thicker, though the 
April sun was still scorching the open meadow. 


The Tiger Hunt 93 

At last in desperation, I tried my only re- 
maining tune, not being very proficient on the 
flute. For a while nothing happened. I 
played so intently that I paid attention to 
nothing else and was greatly startled to hear 
a noise as if someone were pulling on a rope. 
I looked up and there was a stag whose nos- 
trils were quivering with excitement as if he 
scented the music. His beautiful forked horns 
were caught up in a creeper hanging from a 
tree, from which he was trying to free him- 
self. I kept on playing, but did not take my 
eyes from him. At last he freed himself from 
the vine, but a tendril still clung to his horns 
like a crown of green. He came nearer and 
stood still. 

I kept on playing, and one by one more 
golden faces began to come out from behind 
the foliage of the jungle. The spotted fawn, 
the musk-deer, gazelles and antelopes, all 
seemed to answer the call of the music. I 
stopped playing. That instant a shiver went 
through the herd; the stag stamped his foot 

94 Kari the Elephant 

on the ground' and as swiftly as the waving of 
a blade of grass in the breeze they all disap- 
peared in the forest. I could feel in the dis- 
tance the shiver of the undergrowth of grass 
and saplings indicating the way the animals 
had passed. 

Knowing this power of music over animals, 
I wanted to train Kari and Eopee to follow 
the tunes of my flute. Kopee was such a mon- 
key that I could not make him listen. When- 
ever I began to play the flute, he would go to 
sleep or run up a tree. Monkeys have no 

Kari, on the contrary, though much worse 
at first, was more sensible. He paid no atten- 
tion to any tune that I played, but once in a 
while, I would strike a note that would make 
him stop still and listen, and I could tell by 
his manner that this tune went home. Those 
long fanning ears of his would stop waving and 
the restless trunk would be still for a moment. 
Unfortunately, the notes that really reached 
his- soul were very few- I could hardly sustain 

The Tiger Hunt 95 

them for more than a minute and a half. 
Weeks passed before I could get them back 

One day after the battle with the wild ele- 
phant in the jungle, I took up the flute again 
and began to play for him. I tried many notes 
and chords. At last I could sustain the tones 
he liked for more than three minutes. By the 
end of August, I could make Kari listen to rny 
music for ten minutes at a time. When an- 
other winter had passed and summer came 
again, I could really command him with my 
music. I could sit on his back, almost on his 
neck, and play the flute, never saying a word, 
and guide him for days and days. 

This summer a very daring tiger visited our 
village. His head looked like a tower and his 
body was as large as that of an ox. At first 
he came in the night and killed oxen or buffa- 
loes, but one night he killed a man, and after 
that he never killed anything but men, for the 
tiger is as fond of human meat as we are of 

96 Kari the Elephant 

Our house was very near the jungle; all our 
windows were barred with iron. Nothing could 
go in or out through them except mosquitoes 
or flies. One evening I was sitting at my win- 
dow at about eight o'clock. I heard the cry 
of the Fayu, the fox which goes ahead of the 
tiger, giving the warning call to all the other 
animals. Then, as the darkness that night was 
not very intense, I could see the fox go by. 
Soon I could actually inhale the odor of a tiger. 

In a few moments an enormous black crea- 
ture came and stood in front of the window. 
As he sat down, the call of the fox in the dis- 
tance stopped. After a while the tiger stood 
up and walked toward the window. That in- 
stant, the fox in the distance began to call. I 
was very frightened, but as I wanted to see 
the tiger clearly, I lit a match. He was so 
frightened by the sight of fire that with one 
growl he bounded off. 

After that the tiger took to coming early in 
the afternoons. One day about four o'clock, 
we saw him standing on a rock across the river, 

The Tiger Hunt 97 

looking at the village. The river was very 
shallow, hardly five inches deep, but it was 
very broad and full of sand bars. He stood 
looking at the village and growling with great 
joy. In India the government does not allow 
the people to carry rifles of any sort, so when- 
ever a tiger or a leopard makes a nuisance of 
himself around the village you generally have 
to send for a British official to come and kill 
him. Word was sent to the magistrate of our 
district. In a few days a chubby-faced En- 
glishman appeared. In the Indian sun the red 
face of the Westerner looks even redder. 

There are certain rules by which men hunt 
in India. You never shoot an animal weaker 
than yourself, and if you want to shoot a tiger 
or a leopard, you give it a warning. If you do 
not do so, you generally pay for it. After the 
British official appeared, I was allowed to take 
him on my elephant and go out in the open to 
show him that Kari was fit for hunting. He 
fired a number of shots and killed several birds. 
Kari, who had never heard a shot before, and 

98 Kari the Elephant 

whom everyone expected to be frightened, did 
not pay the slightest attention to all the clamor 
of flying bullets. He knew at heart he was the 
master of the jungle, and hence nothing could 
surprise him. It is said in India that the mark 
of a gentleman is that he is never surprised* 
That shows that Kari's ancestors were un- 
doubtedly very gentle elephants. 

After killing some more birds, the magis- 
trate became quite convinced that Kari would 
do for the hunt, so one morning about four 
o'clock we started out. I sat almost on the 
neck of my elephant playing my flute, and the 
magistrate sat in the howdah which had been 
especially prepared for hint, since he was not 
accustomed to riding elephants any other way. 
iWe crossed the river and went far into the 
jungle. Beaters had gone ahead in large 
groups to stir up the jungle from all direc- 
tions. It was very difficult to go through the 
jungle with the howdah on the elephant's back, 
and we had to edge our way along between 
branches and trees. 

The Tiger Hunt 99 

After riding for at least two hours, we came 
to an open space and it was agreed that the 
beaters should drive all the animals to this 
clearing. This morning the sunrise was full 
of noise and without any of the soft and deli- 
cate silences which usually mark day-break in 
the jungle. I felt quite out of humor and ap- 
parently Kari was bored to death. He kept 
on pulling at one twig after another with his 
trunk, nibbling and wasting everything. Our 
passenger did not know any language but 
English, and as I knew nothing of English at 
that time, we spoke very little and only by 

The first animals to come before us were a 
herd of antelopes which dashed towards us like 
burnt gold flashing through emerald water. 
After they had passed, a lull fell on the scene, 
which was soon broken by the grunt and snort 
of a rhinoceros. He rushed forward in a 
straight line, as usual, breaking and tearing 
everything. Kari averted his gaze because ele- 
phants are always irritated by the ostentatious 

loo Kari the Elephant 

bustle of a rhinoceros. Then, soon after him 
we saw a horned boar rushing like a black 
javelin through the air, followed by many ani- 
mals, weasels and wild cats, and once in a while 
a chita with its spotted skin. They refused to 
come out in the open, however, but always 
went behind the screen of foliage and grass, 
for they had smelled the danger signal, man 
and elephant. 

Every little while we heard a passionate and 
angry growl. When this sound reached our 
ears, the magistrate would sit up with his rifle 
to take aim. Then there would be a lull. Now 
we could hear the cry of the beaters in the dis- 
tance coming nearer and nearer. Suddenly a 
herd of elephants passed. They made no noise 
and left no trace, but passed by like walking 

Again the angry growl fell on the jungle, 
but this time it was ahead of us. The beaters 
cried out again close by, but all were silenced 
by the roar of the approaching tiger. With 
one bound he appeared in the clearing, but 

The Tiger Hunt ioi 

immediately disappeared again. We could see 
him passing from one bush to another; and 
when he stopped we caught a glimpse of his 
hind legs. Without any warning the magis- 
trate fired and like a thunder bolt, the tiger 
leaped in front of the elephant with one roar. 
Kari reared; he walked backwards and stood 
with his back against a tree. The magistrate 
could not shoot at the tiger without sending a 
bullet through my head, so he had to wait. 

Then with a leap the tiger was by the side 
of the elephant, so close to the howdah that 
there was not the distance of even a rifle be- 
tween him and the magistrate. I stopped my 
flute playing to swear at the magistrate. I 
said, "You brother of a pig; why did you not 
give him warning before you shot? Who has 
ever heard of killing an animal without seeing 
him face to face? Can you kill a tiger by 
breaking his hind leg with a bullet?" 

The man was livid with terror. He had the 
rifle in his hand but the tiger was reaching over 
the howdah and stretching out his paw to get 

102 Kari the Elephant 

'him. He did not know what to do. Kari shook 
himself with all his strength but he could not 
shake the tiger off. He trumpeted in great 
.pain because the tiger's claws were cutting 
into his flesh. He raised his trunk, swayed his 
body and bounded against a tree behind him; 
but still the tiger could not be shaken off . The . 
nearer the tiger's paw came, the more the 
magistrate tried to lean against the side of the 
howdah. Pretty soon he moved towards the 
elephant's rear, and thus reached a corner of 
the howdah which gave him almost as much 
space as the length of a rifle. I saw the eye of 
the tiger turn first red and then yellow, and 
heard the terrible snarl which he gives only 
when he is sure of his prey. The quality of 
the snarl is such that it paralyzes his victim. 

Seeing that the Englishman could do noth- 
ing and feeling sure that he would be 
killed, I knew I had to do something. I 
stopped swearing and with one terrible yell 
gave the elephant the master call. He went 
forward and put his trunk around a very thick 


The Tiger Hunt 103 

branch of a tree and pulled it down with a 
great crash. That instant the tiger looked at 
the direction from which the noise had come. 
His head was near me now, and he did not 
know whether to attack me or go back to his 
former prey. It seemed as if hours passed. I 
was petrified with terror, yet I knew that if I 
let my fright get possession of me, I would be 
killed. So I controlled myself. Kari was now 
trying to strike the tiger with this trunk, but he 
could not get at him. 

Suddenly I realized that the Englishman 
not only had the rifle's length between him and 
the tiger but was raising the rifle to take aim. 
Knowing this, I took my flute and hit the 
tiger's knuckles with it. He came toward 
me with his paw outstretched and caught 
the shawl which was loosely tied around my 
waist. I was glad to hear it tear because he 
had just missed my flesh. That instant I saw 
the Englishman put the barrel of the rifle into 
the tiger's ear. All I remembered was hot 
blood spurting over my face. Kari was run- 

104 Kari the Elephant 

ning away with all his might and did not stop 
until he had crossed the clearing and disap- 
peared beyond the trees. He was not hurt, 
except that his side was torn here and there 
with superficial wounds. When the beaters 
came, I made the elephant kneel down. We 
both got off. The Englishman went to see how 
big the tiger was while I led Kari in quest of 
my broken flute. Toward sun-down when they 
had skinned the tiger, they found its length 
to be nine feet, not counting the tail. 



^ I CHOUGH elephants are very unsel- 
fish animals, they behave like human 

-*- beings when brought to the last ex- 
tremity. The following adventure will show 
you what I mean. 

One day, Kari and Kopee and I went to the 
river bank to help pull a big barge up the river. 
The towmen could not pull the ropes hard 
enough to make progress against the current. 
All that they could do was to stand still with- 
out getting ahead at all. So word was sent 
on to us and we three went to help out. I 
harnessed Kari with the tow rope. It was very 
amusing, as he had never pulled a weight in his 
life. At first he pulled very hard. The rope 
almost broke and the barge swayed in the 

io8 Kari the Elephant 

water, almost toppled, and then drifted to its 
previous position. The swift current was go- 
ing against it and the people in the barge were 
shaking their hands and swearing at us as they 
were afraid that the vessel would capsize. 

Kari did not care. After he had pulled the 
barge about two hundred yards he stopped; 
the rope slackened and then the current pulled 
against us. The rope became taut again 
and the men shrieked from the barge. When 
you tug a boat, you must not jerk at the rope 
but pull it gently, so I urged Kari to pull it 
smoothly. In the course of an hour, he had 
actually drawn the boat in, and at the end of 
our journey he had learned to pull evenly. 

After that we went on playing on the river 
bank. Kopee jumped off the elephant's back 
and ran along the shore. I urged Kari to 
follow him, and as we kept on going, I lost 
all sense of direction and trusted to the intelli- 
gence of the animals. The monkey, however, 
had led us into a trap. We had run into quick- 
sand and Kari began to sink. Every time he 

Karl and the Quick-Sand 109 

tried to lift his feet he seemed to go deeper 
into the mud and he was so frightened that he 
tried to take hold of the monkey with his trunk 
and step on him as something solid, but Kopee 
chattered and rushed up a tree. 

Then Kari swung his trunk around, pulled 
down the mattress from his back, and putting 
it on the ground tried to step on it. That did 
not help, so he curled up his trunk behind to 
try to get me to step on. Each time he made 
an effort like that, however, he sank deeper 
into the mud. I saw the trunk curling back 
and creeping up to me like a python crawling 
up a hillside to coil around its prey. There was 
no more trumpeting or calling from the ele- 
phant, but a sinister silence through which he 
was trying to reach me. He had come to the 
end of his unselfishness. In order to save him- 
self, he was willing to step on me. 

The monkey screamed from the tree-top and 
I, jumping off the elephant's back, fell on the 
ground and ran. Kari kept on trumpeting and 
calling for help, and by this time he was chest 

no Kari the Elephant 

deep in the mud. The rear of him had not 
sunk so far, so he was on a slant which made it 
all the more difficult for him to lift himself. 

I ran off to the village and called for help. 
By the time we got back with ropes and planks, 
he was holding his trunk up in order to breathe, 
as the mud was up to his chin. There was only 
one thing to do, and that was to lift Kari by 
his own weight, so we tied the rope to the tree 
and flung it to him. He got it with his trunk 
and pulled. The rope throbbed and sang like 
an electric wire and the tree groaned with the 
tension, but all that happened was that the 
elephant slipped forward a little and his hind 
legs fell deeper into the mud. 

Now he was perfectly flat in quick-sand. 
But something very interesting had taken 
place. Now that he was holding on to the rope 
with all his mortal strength we knew that he 
would not let go of it, so it was easy to go near 
him and put planks under him, as the hind part 
of his belly had not yet sunk to the level of the 
mud. At last he stopped sinking, but as we 

Kari and the Quick-Sand in 

could not put the planks under his feet it only 
meant that he would not go further down and 
smother to death. 

Now that his head was lifted and there was 
an opening between him and the mud, the 
question was how to lift the front part of his 
body so that he could drag the rest of it out. 
Another elephant had to be called in. It 
turned out to be Kari's mother who had been 
given to the neighboring king. By the time 
she arrived, however, dusk had fallen and noth- 
ing could be done. We trusted to God and 
left him to his quick-sand for the night. 

The next morning we found Kari in the 
same position as the previous evening. He had 
relaxed his hold on the rope but had not sunk 
deeper. We had to put more planks all around 
him but he now knew that he should not attack 
anyone because we were trying to save him. 
After the planks had been tested, his mother 
went up to him. She put her trunk around his 
neck and started to lift him, but he groaned 
with pain for he was being smothered. He be- 

112 Kari the Elephant 

gan to sink again and we just had time to put 
some more planks between his chest and the 

We had also slipped a rope under him, which 
some men in a boat near the river bank came 
up and threw over his back. The hawser was 
made into a loop around his body and the other 
end was tied around the mother. Then she 
pulled with all her might, and her strength was 
so great that his fore-quarters were lifted up 
and his small legs dangled in the air. He was 
pulled forward quite a distance, when the 
hawser broke and his fore-legs fell on the 
plank. His hind legs now were sinking and 
we were terribly frightened. We felt as if we 
had lost him again. 

The situation was not so bad as we thought, 
however, as it was very easy to slip another 
hawser under him. This time we made a 
double loop around him, and also made him 
hold on to the rope around the tree with his 
trunk. He was very tired, but I urged him 
to obey me. And now with the aid of his 

Kari and the Quick-Sand 113 

mother, he managed to lift the rear half of his 
body and put first one leg and then the other 
on the plank. A great shout of joy went 
through the crowd as Kari walked on to solid 
ground. That instant the monkey jumped 
down from the tree and fell on Kari's neck ; he 
was very glad to see his friend safe again. But 
Kari was in no humor for anyone's caresses 
and he shook Kopee off. The first thing I did 
was to pull some branches from a tree which 
Kari devoured hungrily. A hungry elephant 
is not to be bothered by anyone. 

I had learned my lesson. I would no longer 
take my elephant anywhere and everywhere 
at the behest of the monkey, for monkeys have 
no judgment. 



SOMETIMES Kari was used for travel. 
He and I went through many distant 
places in India with camel caravans, 
carrying loads of silver and gold, spices and 
fruits. They went from one end of India to 
the other, passing through hot and deserted 
cities while our accustomed way when not in 
their company led through populous places 
and thick jungle regions. Elephants have an 
advantage over camels in this respect gangs 
of robbers may attack a camel and his driver 
and rob him, but no one dares to attack an 
elephant. As the animals of the jungle do not 
care to touch an elephant, neither do wild men 
in desolate places. For this reason they gen- 
erally used Kari when they wanted to send 

n8 Kari the Elephant 

pearls and other jewels from one place to an- 

Once, we were given the king's emerald to 
carry. It was as big as the morning star, and 
burned when the glow of the noon-day sun 
was upon it. Two epics were carved on it 
on one side was the story of the heroes, and 
on the other the story of the gods. We left 
the city and passed into the jungle. Night 
came on apace and we stopped. 

That night I watched the jungle as I had 
never watched it before. It was about nine 
o'clock; everything was dark and the stars 
were right on the tips of the trees. Below us 
in the foliage the eyes of the jungle were look- 
ing upon us. Wherever I turned, I thought 
I saw eyes. Kari swayed slightly from side 
to side and fell into a doze. The first thing 
that I noticed was the faint call of a night 
bird. When that died down, the hooting owl 
took it up. Then it passed into the soft wings 
of the bats and came into the leaves, and you 
could feel that noise shimmering down the 

Karl's Travels 119 

trees like water in a dream till, with gentle un- 
dulations, it disappeared into the ground. The 
wild boar could be heard grazing. Then there 
was silence again. 

Out of the blackness then came the green 
eyes of the wild cat below me and, as my 
eyes became more accustomed to the darkness, 
I saw small, beaver-like animals burrowing 
their way through leaves and brushes. I 
thought I saw weasels way below, and in the 
distance I felt the stag disturbing the leaves 
of small plants. Then there was a snarl in the 
jungle and these gently moving sounds and 
quivers ceased. An aching silence came over 
everything, broken only by strange insect 
voices like the spurting of water. Very soon 
the call of the fox was heard, and then the 
groan of the tiger, but that passed. As 
I was above the ground the odor of my 
breath went up in the air, and the animals 
never knew there was man about. Men al- 
ways disturb animals because they hate and 
fear more than the animals. 

120 Karl the Elephant- 

Little by little the sounds died down and 
stillness took possession of the jungle. I saw 
herds of elephants go into the water to bathe. 
They did not make the slightest sound; their 
bodies sank into the water as clouds dip into 
the sunset. I could see them curling their 
trunks around their mates and plucking lilies 
from the water to eat. As the moon with its 
shadowy light had risen, I seemed to be look- 
ing at them through a veil of water. Close to 
the shore were the little ones stepping into 
the water and learning how to breathe quan- 
tities of water into their trunks and then snort 
it out slowly without the slightest sound. Soon 
their bath was over, but the only way you could 
tell that they had bathed was by hearing drops 
of water like twinkling stars fall from their 
wet bodies and strike the leaves on the ground. 
This proved too much for Kari; he wanted 
to follow them. I had a hard time keeping 
him away from the herd, and despite all my 
urging, he ran right into the river. His mat- 
tress and everything that was tied to his back 

Kari's Travels 121 

was wet through and through and I had to 
swim ashore. If the emerald had not been tied 
to my neck, it would have been lost in the water. 
I went up a tree and waited for Kari to come 
out of the water. 

After I had sat on a branch a little while, 
I saw two stony eyes watching me. I looked, 
and looked and looked; a cold shiver ran up 
and down my back, but I was determined not 
to fear and hate. I made myself feel very 
brave and I stared right back into the shining 
eyes. They closed. In the moonlight I could 
distinctly see the head of a cobra lying on an- 
other branch very near mine. I had disturbed 
him going up. I knew if I moved a little he 
would get up and sting me to death, so I sat 
very still. 

Soon there was a terrible hooting and 
calling in the jungle. I heard hoofs stamped- 
ing in the distance. The noise grew louder 
and louder and I could feel a vast warm tongue 
licking the cool silence of the night. Then 
the cobra crawled along the branch to the 

122 Kari the Elephant 

trunk of the tree, and then on down to the 
ground. I, who was holding to the trunk, had 
to sit still while his cold body passed over my 
finger. But I was determined not to fear and 
I could feel the silken coolness passing over 
my hot hand. In an instant he was gone. 

Now I caught sight of Kari snorting before 
me. As I knew something had taken pos- 
session of the jungle, I jumped on his back. 
While we hurried along we heard the whining 
snarl of a tiger, not the call of hate or killing, 
but the call for protection, swiftly following 
our lead. Being civilized, we instinctively 
knew the way out of the jungle to human 
habitation. We approached the village which 
was still sleeping in the morning grayness, and 
behind us saw horny deer, leopards, and wild 
cats rushing after us. Then the boars came 
after us, dashing out of the jungle in terror. 
Vast clouds of blackness were rising from the 
horizon, and when the morning light grew 
more intense, I realized they were clouds of 
smoke. The morning breeze was warm and in 

Karl's Travels 123 

a short time the smell of burning leaves 
reached me. The forest was on fire. 

We arrived at the village in an hour and a 
half. The sun was already up. The leopards 
came and sat near the houses as guileless as 
children; the boars snorted and ran into the 
rice fields to hide. The tiger came and sat in 
the open and watched the forest. The an- 
telopes and the deer stood in the ponds and on 
the banks of the river. By instinct they knew 
that the water was the only place where the 
fire could not reach them. We saw flocks of 
birds flying to shelter. Soon we saw the red 
tongue of fire licking the grass and the trees. 
A terrible heat settled upon the country-side. 

I could now go near any animal and touch 
him. The terrible danger which was common 
to all had made them forget their relations 
with each other that of hunter and prey. 
Tiger, elephant and man were standing near 
each other. All had a sense of common friend- 
ship, as if the tiger had thrown away his 
stripes, man his fear, and the deer his sense 

124 Kari the Elephant 

of danger. We all looked at one another, 
brothers in a common bond of soul relation- 
ship. This sight made me realize why the 
Hindus believe that each plant and each ani- 
mal, like man, has a golden thread of spiritu- 
ality in its soul. In the darkness of the ani- 
mal's eyes and the eloquence of man's mind 
it was the same Spirit, the great active Silence 
moving from life to life. 

The jungle was burning to cinders. The 
tiger hid his face between his paws; the 
wild cats curled up, hiding their faces. None 
wanted to see the passing of the terror. Later 
in the afternoon some of the birds that were 
flying aimlessly around were drawn by the 
hypnotism of the flames into the jungle where 
they perished. If one is frightened beyond 
his control, fear possesses him so that he loses 
all consciousness of self -protection and he is 
drawn down into the vortex of the very de- 
struction which rouses that fear. 

The more I watched Kari and the other 
animals, the more I came to understand why 

Karl's Travels 125 

Kari and I loved each other. We had a soul 
in common. I played the flute for him and 
was deeply moved. I felt that if I could be 
dumb like he, I could understand him better. 
This was the lesson the fire taught me: do not 
hate and fear animals. In them is the soul 
that is God, as it is also in us. Behind each 
face, human or animal, is the face of the Christ. 
Those who have eyes to see can always find it. 



NOT long after this Kari was sent to 
the lumber yards. It was very in- 
teresting to see that he learned all 
the tricks of the lumber trade in a few days. 
He would pull heavy logs out of the forest 
into the open, lift the lighter ones with his 
trunk and pile them up, one on top of the 
other. He had such a good sense of symmetry 
that his piles were always extremely neat. 

Soon an older elephant came to help him. 
Whenever there was a log which was too heavy 
for Kari to lift, they would each take one end 
of it and lift it on the lumber wagon. An 
elephant, as you see, can do the work of 
a truck. 

We had reached a stage in the history of the 

130 Kari the Elephant 

world when motor engines did a large part of 
the work of the jungle. The elephants would 
bring the lumber from the forest and deposit 
it near these engines where it would be cut into 
proper lengths and then thrown out again to 
be piled up by the elephants. 

The mechanics who ran these engines ate 
meat and drank liquor. It is very strange that 
when Western people come to the East, they 
do not give up their expensive ways of living. 
Drinking wine and eating meat is one thing in 
cold climates, where one has to keep warm, but 
in a hot climate a man is sure to go to pieces 
if he eats and drinks much. Kari had no ob- 
jection to wine drinking, but he did not like 
meat-eating men any more than he liked meat- 
eating tigers. He never hated them or feared 
them, simply he somehow did not enjoy their 
company. But these white engineers who 
came from afar did not know that an elephant 
had a soul. 

Kari always woke up at half past five and 
then went to work. Toward noon I would 

Kari In the Lumber Yard 131 

bathe him and put him in his shed. Early in 
the afternoon he would begin to work again. 
Later on he ate lots of rice of which he was 
very fond. In the evening I would tie him up 
in his shed while I went to sleep on a hammock 

One night, I heard a terrible trumpeting. 
I jumped down from my hammock and went 
into Kari's shed, where I found two drunken 
engineers lighting matches and throwing them 
at him. Kari, who was afraid of fire, as all 
animals are, was trumpeting angrily. I pro- 
tested to the men, but they were so drunk that 
they only swore at me and went on flinging 
matches. Seeing that there was nothing else 
to do, I loosened all his chains except one, and 
let him stay there tied to the ground by one 
foot only. 

An elephant's chain is generally driven 
about five or six feet into the ground and is 
then covered with cement and earth. An ele- 
phant can rarely break this kind of chain, but 
I was afraid that the matches might set tHe 

132 Kari the Elephant 

shed on fire, and I trusted Kari more than 
drunken men. I knew that if the shed caught 
fire the elephant could break one chain if he 
tried hard to escape. The night passed with- 
out any further incident, however. 

I must explain why animals are afraid of 
fire. Fire, you see, is the one thing that they 
can never fight. They are not afraid of 
water, as most of them can swim, but if they 
are caught in fire, they are generally burned 
to death. For this reason they have built up 
a protective instinct against fire. Whenever 
there is fire of any sort, they run. As they 
have seen the jungle set on fire from time to 
time for generations and generations, the sight 
of fire frightens them more than anything else. 
As long as they have inherited this fear from 
their ancestors, it is very wise not to play with 
fire in the presence of animals. If an animal 
as powerful as an elephant were frightened by 
fire, he would run mad and do the greatest 
amount of mischief. 

One noon when we had suspended work for 

Kari in the Lumber Yard 133 

lEe day, I tied Kari in his shed and lay 'down 
in my hammock to rest. Toward late after- 
noon, I heard the same terrible trumpeting 
that I had heard before. The same thing had 
happened again. The two engineers, being 
idle, had drunk liquor and were trying to tease 
the animals nearby. The shed had a thatched 
roof of straw. The walls were of clay, but 
there was a lot of bamboo lying on the floor. 
Kari was eating twigs, some of which hap- 
pened to have dry leaves. 

I came up to the elephant, and seeing what 
was going on, told the white men to stop teas- 
ing him. They would not hear of it, however. 
Just then I saw a flame rising from the leaves. 
Kari raised his trunk and trumpeted fiercely. 
As I was afraid that he would be burned to 
death, I hastened to loosen his chain and with 
one terrible trumpet he rushed out of the shed, 
trampling down one of the drunken men and 
killing him instantly. Kari then trumpeted 
more and more loudly, waving his trunk and 
rushing madly around. 

134 Kari the Elephant 

Realizing the danger we were in, I went up 
a very heavy banian tree out of Kari's reach 
and lay among the leaves. The first thing he 
did was to go and put his foot on the automo- 
bile of the chief engineer, which happened to 
be standing outside of the shed. In a few 
minutes there was nothing but a mass of 
twisted steel on the ground, over which the 
elephant danced in anger. Then he saw the 
chief engineer and two other men standing on 
the porch of a bungalow. He rushed at them, 
but they knew what it meant to have a mad 
elephant about, and ran into the house. Kari 
then pulled down part of the thatched roof of 
the bungalow with his trunk, and finding no 
one there made straight for two new trucks 
that had only been in use a fortnight and broke 
them to pieces. Then he rushed at a bull which 
was grazing in a field, and wound his trunk 
around his neck. The bull dropped dead. In 
a few moments Kari was out of sight. 

For a fortnight no one heard anything of 
him. I expected him to return to me, but he 


Kari in the Lumber Yard 135 

never came back. Even to this day no one 
knows what happened to him. Evidently 
those miserable engineers had driven him out 
of his mind. In his madness he must have 
gone back to the jungle and by the time he 
recovered his senses was so lost in its depths 
that he could not come back. When his mind 
returns to him, an elephant can never remem- 
ber the road that he took in his insanity, and if 
he runs very far into the jungle he may never 
come back because the Spirit of the jungle 
seizes him. Kari's last impression of human 
beings must have been so terrible that when 
the Spirit of the jungle asserted itself in him, 
he allowed it to lure him away forever from 
the habitations of men. 

That is how it came about that I lost my 
friend and brother, the elephant. Though as 
an animal Kari is lost to me, my soul belongs 
to his soul and we shall never forget each other. 


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